Thank you for your feedback!
AbstractAre you really picky about food? Or do you know someone who is? It might be because he or she is a supertaster! To supertasters, the flavors of foods are much stronger than to average tasters. Are you a supertaster? Find out with this tongue-based science fair project!
Determine what percentage of the population are supertasters, average tasters, and non-tasters.
Do you hate the taste of broccoli? Or think that grapefruit is extremely bitter? If so, you may be able to blame it on your taste buds! Taste buds are sensory organs on your tongue that help you sense different flavors. Each taste bud is made up of about 150 cells, called receptors. Each receptor is best at sensing a single flavor: sweet, salty, bitter, or sour. The sum total of these sensations is the "taste" of the food.
The number of taste buds varies from person to person. People who have more taste buds are called supertasters. To supertasters, foods have much stronger flavors, which often leads to supertasters having very strong likes and dislikes for different foods. Supertasters often report that foods like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, grapefruit, and coffee taste very bitter.
The opposite of supertasters are non-tasters. Non-tasters have very few taste buds and to them, most food seems bland and unexciting. The people in the middle are average tasters. Which kind of taster do you think you are? You can find out in this science fair project by putting some blue food coloring on the tip of your tongue and counting the number of papillae there. Papillae are structures that house the taste buds. By testing a group of people (30 or more), you can determine what percentage of the population are non-tasters, supertasters, and average tasters. Which type of taster do you think is most common? Ready to find out? Then stick out your tongue and start counting!
Terms, Concepts, and Questions to Start Background Research
These websites have more information about taste, taste buds, and tongues:
This website offers help with creating graphs:
To print out polar graph paper for a pie chart, visit this website:
Materials and Equipment
Shop for Supplies at Science Buddies Online Store
Science Buddies has compiled some suggestions for harder to find items in our Amazon store. The store does not include every item for every project, but it does include items that we feel work for the projects on our website. If you have comments or would like us to add items to the store, please contact us at email@example.com.
Sandra Slutz, PhD, Science Buddies
This science project idea was adapted from the following resource:
If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring related careers.
Food Scientist or Technologist |
There is a fraction of the world's population that doesn't have enough to eat or doesn't have access to food that is nutritionally rich. Food scientists or technologists work to find new sources of food that have the right nutrition levels and that are safe for human consumption. In fact, our nation's food supply depends on food scientists and technologists that test and develop foods that meet and exceed government food safety standards. If you are interested in combining biology, chemistry, and the knowledge that you are helping people, then a career as a food scientist or technologist could be a great choice for you!
Life is all around you in beauty, abundance, and complexity. Biologists are the scientists who study life in all its forms and try to understand fundamental life processes, and how life relates to its environment. They answer basic questions, like how do fireflies create light? Why do grunion fish lay their eggs based on the moon and tides? What genes control deafness? Why don't cancer cells die? How do plants respond to ultraviolet light? Beyond basic research, biologists might also apply their research and create new biotechnology. There are endless discoveries waiting to be found in the field of biology!
Each time your heart beats, or you breathe, think, dream, smell, see, move, laugh, read, remember, write, or feel something, you are using your nervous system. The nervous system includes your brain, spinal cord, and a huge network of nerves that make electrical connections all over your body. Neurologists are the medical doctors who diagnose and treat problems with the nervous system. They work to restore health to an essential system in the body.